What are mini dental implants? Cost, pros, and cons explained

Nichole McKenna

Written by Nichole McKenna DDS, Benjamin Wang DDS

Mini dental implants are about half the size of traditional rods. They are made up from just two parts, and the surgery takes only one day. All this makes it possible for patients who normally wouldn’t be candidates for implantation to get the best tooth restoration out there.

Minis are becoming more and more popular with each day. Are they right for you? Read our detailed run-down. You’ll learn who can get mini dental implants, what their downsides are, and why they are receiving so much attention.

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Mini dental implants vs. traditional implants

Mini implant vs. traditional one

Picture by Authority Dental under CC 2.0 license

You may be on the fence whether to get traditional or mini dental implants. It is mostly up to your dentist to decide which is best in your case. On the other hand, it’s good to come for an initial consultation informed enough to know the key differences.

Mini dental implants are smaller than the traditional kind. First of all, they are made of just two parts: a post and the crown. Traditional implants are composed of the screw, abutment connection, and the prosthetic crown. That’s why mini dental implants pictures are easier on the eyes than with regular rods.

In terms of the actual size, mini dental implants are 1.8 mm to 3.3 mm in diameter. Regular ones are 3.4 mm to 7 mm in width. Lengths are comparable.

Both traditional and mini implants are composed of titanium alloy. This material is one of the strongest ones used in medicine. It is also biocompatible, which means bone fuses with it directly.

Studies show that the length of the implant is more important than the diameter when it comes to stability. This is why this is comparable in both types. Some dentists still argue that minis are not able to withstand as much chewing force.

Traditional implants have been studied in-depth, as they have been in use for more than 50 years. They are considered a long term solution to missing teeth. Mini dental implants have not been on the market for as long and have thus not been as thoroughly researched.

They are still getting a lot of recognition for the success dentists have been able to achieve with them so far.

Overview of mini dental implants cost

Mini dental implants cost near you may be anywhere between $500 and $1,500. Rural areas tend to have more favourable prices than large cities. Other than the location, the discrepancy can be explained due to the following factors:

  • the complexity and duration of the procedures,
  • affordability of materials, and
  • the type of anesthesia needed.

Note the values mentioned above do not include costs of additional procedures. Nevertheless, prices are still lower than with regular-sized implants. So, if you are looking for affordable dental implants, this type may be a good option for you.

Pros and cons of mini dental implants

Single mini dental implant

Picture by Authority Dental under CC 2.0 license

Mini dental implants may be the only solution for some patients. That doesn’t mean they are a last resort, as they still have many benefits over the traditional process. Mini dental implants reviews are commonly very positive.

First of all, there is no complicated surgery involved. Patients may walk out with not only a single implant, but a fully restored arch. Secondly, the recovery period is mild and short. Healing happens faster and more efficiently. There is no need for bone grafting or sinus lifting either.

Nichole McKenna

Nichole McKenna, DDS

Mini dental implants are traditionally used to support a lower full denture. Paying for such a restoration is a safe investment.

And lastly, there is less of a risk of complications such as nerve damage.

Nonetheless, it’s good to be aware of the disadvantages of mini dental implants. They cannot be used in areas with little vertical bone. Mini dental implant screws are quite long to ensure stability. This means they need adequate volume.

Richard Hattaway

Richard Hattaway, DDS

The length of the implant is one of the most important factors leading to implant stability.

Furthermore, more implants might be required than with the traditional process, especially when they are supporting bridges or dentures. If mini dental implants get damaged, the whole thing has to be removed. Traditional implants include 3 components, which are easier and cheaper to replace if anything goes wrong.

Last but not least, there is little data on the durability and longevity of mini dental implants dentistry. This solution is an innovation, which means there is a lack of longitudinal studies and observation.

  • No complicated surgery

  • Quick and easy recovery

  • No bone augmentation procedures are needed

  • Smaller risk of nerve damage

  • Cannot be implanted if there is little vertical bone

  • At least 4 implants required to support a bridge or denture

  • Reimplantation is necessary if there is any damage

  • Little research on long-term durability

Mini dental implants candidate

Dentures supported by four mini implants

Picture by Authority Dental under CC 2.0 license

Mini dental implants near me

FAQ

In some cases mini dental implants can be a better fit than the regular kind. It all depends on the patients, how much bone they have available and whether they’re a candidate for bone augmentation.

Consult with a specialist who performs both procedures regularly. They will know best what is right in your case.

There is a lack of long-term observational studies on mini dental implants since they are a new technology. Nonetheless, they are designed to be a permanent restoration. Even though they haven't been available for long, a lot of success has been recorded.

Mini implants can fail due to patient-oriented factors, just as with the traditional process. These include poor hygiene, diabetes, or smoking. Other reasons include incorrect placement leading to an excess of pressure placed on the rod. Minis are also sometimes unsuccessful in patients with a large volume of gum tissue.

The best way to avoid failure is to go with an experienced specialist and conduct excellent aftercare.

Minis can be installed when there is less than 1 mm of the available bone around the implant area. It is common that upper arches have less, which means you might need augmentation procedures, although this is rare in the case of mini dental implants.

Mini implants can sometimes be mounted on the top arch. It depends on the quality and amount of bone you have available. Each case is different, so your dentist is the best person to ask for an accurate opinion.

Mini dental implants work better on the bottom arch. This is because there is more jawbone available to stabilize the implant.

References

  1. Dental Mini-Implants - NCBI
  2. Osseointegration of standard and mini dental implants: a histomorphometric comparison - NCBI
  3. The Effect of Implant Length and Diameter on the Primary Stability in Different Bone Types - NCBI
  4. Titanium Alloys for Dental Implants: A Review - MDPi
  5. A Brief Historical Perspective on Dental Implants, Their Surface Coatings and Treatments - NCBI
  6. Clinical outcomes and bone-level alterations around one-piece mini dental implants retaining mandibular overdentures: 5-year follow-up of a prospective cohort study - Wiley Online Library
  7. The Mini Dental Implant in Fixed and Removable Prosthetics: A Review - JOI
  8. Mini-dental implants-for rehabilitation of narrow single tooth edentulous space: A clinical study of seven cases - JDI